In this part, I would like to discuss herbs and spices that not only taste good, but are thought to heal illnesses by those who advocate the use of folk medicine.
As an example, leaves of the spearmint plant used in salads, cheese and drinks are believed by advocates of folk medicines stimulate the appetite, strength the stomach and ease menstruation cramps.
Onions, which are used in all kinds of cooking, were worshiped by ancient Egyptian, who believed that onion helped the dead to breath again after reincarnation. Onions were placed in the tombs alongside the dead and embalmed pharaohs. Onions also were fed to the workers who build the pyramids, the notion being that they gave the strength they needed for the labors. My grandmother credit her long life to her lifelong intake of onions. And who am I to argue with a woman who lived to the age of 114?
Parsley is used in salads, sauces and soups. It is used in the Levant to diminish flatulence, for stomach ache and as a diuretic. Miraculously, it also removes garlic odor for one’s breath.
Sweet basil, used either dried or fresh in tomato sauce, in salads and in meat dishes, is used by folk medicine advocates as a mild sedative.
Bay leaves, used mainly to flavor soups and it’s oil to make soap. Bay leaves was a symbol of victory in the Roman Empire, and employed as heroes crowns. In some cultures it was believed that by including bay leaves inside and article of merchandise, it would be sold. It was believed that washing with soap made from bay oil would protect one from bad magic. Bay oil was used for bruises on the body for asthma and for relieving toothache.
Garlic, used for flavoring of almost everything-except desserts- was used by ancient Greeks as a gift to the goddess Hykat to drive out evil spirits. More recent mythology has it that garlic will keep vampires at a safe distance. The comedian Buddy Hackett once announced that you would never by kissed by the angel of death if you ate garlic.
All that aside, there’s no question that garlic is a healthy additive. It counters high blood pressure, high blood sugar and diminishes the accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries. It’s antiseptic properties help relieve colds and infectious diseases. For bee sting, cut the garlic clove in half and rub it on the sting.
Mixed Herb and Feta Cheese Salad With Walnut Oil Dressing
1 punch Italian parsley, chopped
6 leaves Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup fresh oregano
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
5 tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 cup crumpled feta cheese
-Toss greens with the walnuts.
-Whisk the lemon juice, with lemon zest and the walnut oil. Drizzle over the mixed greens. Toss gently.
-Sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve.